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Coordinator in First Nations and Métis Relations (Journalism and Public Relations, BA)

Alicia Sayers, Hydro One

Alicia Sayers is from Garden River First Nation and currently works for Hydro One Networks Inc., the largest electricity transmission and distribution company in Ontario. In her role within the First Nations and Métis Relations division, Alicia works with First Nations and Métis communities and organizations across the province to share information and ideas of mutual interest to promote effective relations. Alicia enjoys working for a company and with colleagues who believe in the importance of working with First Nations and Métis communities. She views every experience as a learning opportunity, to which she can apply new knowledge, skills and ideas.

Alicia’s story is one of exploring different paths and taking on opportunities. A summer employment experience at Hydro One generated an interest in the company and the electricity sector. She completed two summer work terms at Hydro One within their Summer Student Outreach Program, which designates positions to First Nations, Métis and Inuit postsecondary students. She later applied to their New Grad Training program, in which recent university graduates are hired as regular employees for a two-year training period to learn about their line of business and what they will be doing in the company. After the first year, they complete rotations in different departments to learn about other areas of the company and to continue professional development. Alicia’s rotations found her in the Public Affairs and Network Development and Regional Planning departments. Alicia believes that you should, “be confident you can do the work you’re asked to do or be willing to learn how to do it and take accountability for that work.”

It was Alicia’s commitment to education and involvement at school and in extracurricular activities that helped build her skills and motivation. Some of Alicia’s involvement included volunteering at the Ted Nolan Leadership Camp facilitated through the Ted Nolan Foundation, with Solidarity in Action in Peru and imagineNative Film and Media Arts Festival. Alicia was also selected by the National Aboriginal Health Organization as one of 12 Aboriginal role models in 2009.

Alicia shares that there is an entire sector to be explored when it comes to electricity. It’s important to research the industry and company of interest in addition to where you would like to see yourself. Alicia recommends utilizing Career Services and other student services while at school and credits the Writing and Study Skills Resource Centre as being extremely helpful when it came to perusing graduate studies. Although she received acceptance to complete graduate studies, she opted to enter the workforce at Hydro One and looks forward to completing her master’s degree in the future. Alicia also suggests seeking out summer employment within the industry or company of interest. Alicia credits her summer employment opportunities at Hydro One with helping her get to where she is today. As for preparing for the job, she says that it’s helpful to understand what the company does, to research the department or line of business of interest, and if available, recommends looking through a company’s annual report.

Despite never specifically exploring opportunities in the electricity sector, Alicia’s educational background, work and volunteer experience equipped her with the tools to thrive. She attributes Laurier’s atmosphere as being quite beneficial to her success. She never felt like ‘just’ another student and was able to take advantage of opportunities beyond the curriculum. “It’s important to get involved in school or extracurricular activities when possible in order to build your resume and skills,” says Alicia.

Alicia’s family is important to her as they provided support whenever she needed it. Her parents instilled in Alicia and her sisters an appreciation for family, culture and a strong work ethic. “During school, my main support systems were family, culture as well as some professors and student support staff. My family has always supported me and they are what keep me going each day. During school they were there for me 100% of the time even though we were 8 hours apart. I was brought up with and taking part in ceremonies and other aspects of our culture. These were and continue to be important in helping me and are important to my sense of self.”

As a student at Laurier, Alicia feels it is important to reach out to professors when possible and student support staff. “Being away from my community and family was tough, but I was fortunate to meet several professors and other support staff who encouraged my development as a student and in my goals once completing school.”

In the workplace, Alicia continues to credit her family as well as colleagues as key pillars of support. “I am a team member within a very knowledgeable group and I enjoy the opportunities I have to learn and develop from each of my colleagues and the work we do as a company. Hydro One also invests in the development of each employee and that in itself is a huge support system as well.”

Most significantly, she shares that we’ve all been in the scary place of wondering what’s next. The important thing is to be willing to make an effort and to take on opportunities. “You never know where you’ll end up, so you need to be flexible, but at the same time stay committed to your goals.” In her own words, Alicia says, “There’s an exciting world out there and you will find the support you need, you just need to believe in yourself.”